Summer camps can be quite expensive (our summer camp guide includes dozens of discount codes!). We have found a few gems available at more affordable prices that you should know about. The following East Bay summer camps are offered for less than $250 per week for approximately full-time coverage. If you qualify, see also free/super cheap programs for low-income families. Other tips to save money on camps are below.
Affordable East Bay summer camps
Camp Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project (Oakland)
Farming & Cooking and Dance, Wellness Art & Storytelling. One day per week is swimming. Kids earn money from the harvest.
Fees: $225 with discounts for multiple weeks
Berkeley Day Camp (Berkeley)
Children explore local parks including Tilden Park, Berkeley Marina, and one area beach.
Fees: $174 (Berkeley resident) | $209 (non-resident)
Camp Friendship (Albany)
Campers venture out on a field trip/swimming Tuesday-Thursday. With a different theme each week, your camper will never get bored.
Fees: $250 (Albany resident) | $260 (non-resident)
Junior Lifeguard Camp (Berkeley, Alameda, Castro Valley)
Lifeguard lessons and skill building at the beach.
Fees: $199 (Berkeley resident) | $219 (non-resident)
La Plazita Spanish Immersion Summer Camp (Oakland)
Kids play sports, dance, cook and do art all in Spanish. Campers learn a performance to share with parents at the Friday Fiesta.
Park’n It Day Camp (various EBRPD parks)
Traditional summer day camp program that takes place Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm in various East Bay Regional Parks.
Ages: 5-12 | Leaders in training: 13-17
Fees: $200 (Alameda or Contra Costa county resident) | $220 (non-resident) | 10% discount for second sibling
Recreation and Team Sports (Berkeley)
RATS is a play-all-day summer day camp where kids of all ability levels are encouraged to participate.
The “Rec” Summer Camp (Emeryville)
Traditional summer camp experience with weekly themes.
Fees: $96 (Emeryville resident) | $101 (non-resident)
San Pablo Recreation Summer Day Camp (San Pablo)
Combination of indoor and outdoor camp activities with one field trip per week.
Fees: $65 (San Pablo resident) | $75 (non-resident)
Town Camp (Oakland)
Traditional summer day camp program in and around Oakland. Discover the treasures around town.
Fees: $180 sliding scale (Oakland resident) | $216 (non-resident)
Learn about Town Camp >
World of Wonder (Alameda)
Traditional summer day camp program with field trips.
Fees: $213 (Alameda resident) | $235 (non-resident)
7 Tips to save money on summer camps
Not all of these tips will work for every family or every camp but you might surprise yourself and lop off $100+ with some scheduling flexibility or creativity. Don't be afraid to ask.
- Find a deal. Our summer camp guide includes dozens of discount codes.
- Scholarships. Ask the summer camps staff for a scholarship or need-based rate.
- Sign up a sib. There are often multiple kid rate discounts for families or friends.
- Bundle. Sign up for more than one week. There are often multi-week discounts available.
- Reduce. If you have the flexibility to shorten your hours or days of care, you can save a chunk of change.
- Think Rec. Local parks and recreation departments offer great deals for residents, especially if you don't need full-time care.
- Barter. Get creative. Can you make a trade? Do you have a skill that would benefit the camp? Can you prepare snack or run errands to help the staff in order to defray costs?
Did we miss your favorite lower-cost camp option? Help a family out and share it in the comments!